Графични страници
PDF файл

Thinking ourselves thus secured in our civil rights, we began to explore the scenes of our future prosperity ; we cast our eyes on the vastness of our territory, the variety of our climate, the fertility of our soil ; we beheld every man, the lord of his domain, and in the full enjoyment of the fruits of his labour ; acknowledging no superior but God. In this enchanting prospect, we confidently pro. mised to ourselves, all the comforts, all the luxuries, all the happiness, which earth presents to man. But alas! we had forgotten that man has passions,-passions vast as his conceptions, and inexorable as death.

Scarcely had we proceeded even a few years in the course of prosperity, when envy and ambition clothed in a thousand different forms, began to raise their heads, and breathe in whispers what they dare not utter. But Washington, the father of his country, was then alive. Overawed by the majesty of his character, they shrunk before him ; shrunk into their dark abodes; where, prey. ing upon their own vitals, they gathered strength to assail his successor.

No sooner had he retired from the public theatre, to enjoy the peaceful shades of private life, than these fell monsters, bursting from their dens, came forth to gorge themselves on the well-earned fame of the virtuous and the brave.

Demagogues now arise on every side in thick succession. For every office, however low; for every distinction, however inconsiderable, competitors present themselves in crowds; eager in their pursuits, and forgetful of truth and honour, they assail the character and the conduct of every public man in every station. Pretending to be friends of the people, they place themselves on the ramparts, to guard their rights, and become the heralds of a thousand visionary dangers. Behold the liberty--the expiring li. berty of America, is on every tongue! No services however great, no talents however distinguished, no integrity however pure, is too sacred to be blasted by their pesti. lential breath. The unwary, deceived by their impressions; the timid, overawed by their denunciations; and the sordid, bribed by their promises, begin to listen to their claims; the success of one serves only to enflame the ardour of the next, and his of the next, until, gaining new strength in their course, they become powerful by

[ocr errors]

their numbers, and formidable by their desperation. The honours, the offices, the emoluments of government, become the objects of their rapacity. Victors in their turn, and in their turn vanquished; they become sensible of their danger. To gain additional strength, they form themselves into associations, no less daring than dangerous--they systematize plans, no less destructive of republican principles, than they are portentious of our approaching ruin. Thus they divide the community into parties; civil dissention takes a settled form. Their conflicting interest, blows into a flame, that party rage, which, sooner or later, must destroy every vestige of civil liberty, and sap the foundations of our government. It is already in a flame : intolerance has become a virtue, and proscription a sacred duty. This, fellow citizens, this fell spirit of party, thus fostered, thus systematized, thus bearing down all before it, is the true source of all our calamities. Divided among ourselves, and enfeebled by our division, we have become the sport of every people. The Ocean, the great highway of nations, is interdica ted to us. Our ships are captured, condemned, and sunk, in every sea-Nay, our own ports and harbors, the waters of the Potomac itself, the seat of the imperial city, are tinged with the blood of our citizens, and we have not courage to avenge their wrongs.We make war, it is true, but it is a war of words, and even this, feeble as it is, against whom is it directed? Look at our public councils, look at those who are called the representatives of this great nation! Against whom do they direct all the artillery of this wordy war? I blush to answer! it is against one another. Instead of deliberating, like statesmen, on the great concerns of the nation, we find them at a moment like this, wasting their time and exhausting their passions, in mutual recriminations, in petty rejoicings for party successes, and all the bitterness of party intrigues,-their very hallitself is converted into the temple of discord.

Insulted and injured as we are, by the confession of every man of every party, what have they done to obtain reparation for past injury, or security for time to come ? They have said, we are a great and powerful nation,they have said, our treasury is full of money, and our re


sources inexhaustible, - they have talked of conquests, as if one man could chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight:-How vain such boasting! how impotent the vauntings of party rage! when we trace them to the close of their session, what is the result of their mighty labours ? They have half repealed an obnoxious law.

Where ? in the name of Heaven, where is this to end? Shall we read the answer from the book of those who have gone

before us? Athens, the cradle of the arts, the seat of science, fell a victim to party spirit. The populace were misled by artful and ambitious men; they were taught to believe that their heroes who had fought their battles, were aspiring at dominion ; they were taught to believe that their best benefactors had become enemies to their liberty. Thus inflamed with jealousies, with heart-burnings, and with all the wild and wicked passions which give birth to civil discord ; they arrange themselves under the banners of their respective chiefs; they fly to arms; they exhaust their strength in civil broils, and become an easy prey to their common enemy.

Carthage, in her day, the mistress of commerce, rose rapidly to wealth and power. --She disputed with Rome, the empire of the world. The immortal Hannibal led her armies into the fertile plains of Italy, and threatened her proud capital with swift destruction. Already the Roman eagle had clapped her wings for flight : already her proud towers nodded to their fall. But the fame of Hannibal kindled into a flame that party spirit which his rivals had nurtured at home ; his supplies were withheld; he was stopped in his glorious career; he retreated ; was vanquished; and Carthage fell.

In Rome, too, predestined to be the mistress of the world, this fiend from time to time reared his gorgon's head, rough with a thousand hissing serpents. The banishment of Camillus, which exposed the city to the fury of the Gauls; the struggles of Scylla and Marius, which ended in the domination of one of the bloodiest tyrants re. corded in the annals of man ; the dissentions of Cæsar and Pompey, which terminated the republic; were the fruits of party spirit nurtured by ambitious men. Think not, however, that these were silent passions brooding in

the hearts of single heroes. No, they generated there ; they were artfully instilled into the breasts of honest citi zens in a thousand suspicious forms. Their jealousies, their fears, their hopes ; every avenue to the human breast was seized upon ; every passion was put into motion, until the whole empire was kindled into one universal fame. The plains of Pharsalia, were the fields of the mighty contest, and in the plains of Pharsalia is buried the genius of ancient Rome. On that memorable day, the sun of her liberty set, never to rise again.

Such are the memorable examples of ancient times : Shall I add to this the fate of the United Provinces, and of the Helvetic confederacy of modern daye.

We have seen, in our time, that republic, which had gallantly contended with Philip II. for her liberty, and with Lewis XIV. for her independence, so distracted by internal divisions as to become the easy triumph of a small Prussian army in a single campaign. We see her now from the same cause, the abject slave of a lawless usurper. Helvetia too, the virtue of whose sons, and the strength of whose mountains, had promised her immortality, where is she? The victim of party spirit, her name is blotted from the chart of nations. What then, my fellow citizens, are we to expect? Fostering this fell destroyer in our bosoms, are we to expect a better fate? Will causes cease to produce their effects? Will nature change its course for us! No. We are already on the brink of ruin, and unless we save ourselves by our wisdom, we are gone for ever! Let us with one heart, then, unite in our country's cause let us nobly sacrifice envy and ambition at the shrine of liberty-let us decree eternal freedom to our country. Civil discord alone can sap the foundations of our government, and wrest from us the blessings of her republican institutions. United as a band of brothers, we are firm, and our strength and our liberty are immortal. The world may confederate its powers, and proudly threaten our destruction ; but the genius of America, lowering high on this rock of adamant, shall scatter their confederated hosts, and vindi. cate the honours of our country.

Extract from the Ontario Messenger-ANONYMOUS.

IT required no extraordinary degree of foresight to predict that the present war, waged in defence of those rights which no independent nation can forego or relinquish, would in ito consequences affect the vitals and stamina of she nation itself. That it would bring to the sout not only the energies of our free government, but the attachment of freemen to their liberties. But nothing short of divine prescience could have foretold that by a sudden and unlooked for termination of the European contest, the vast weight of English power should be directed against this rising republic. That the same hands which for twenty years have desolated Europe with their ravages, should so suddenly relinquish their prey in that quarter, and in the short space of five months be wafted across the Atlantic, and commence the work of destruction in this country.“These events have astonished the actors themselves, and in their rapid progress outstripped their most sanguine and even romantic anticipations. But as calamities thicken around us, the clouds of misfortune lower on our hemisphere, shall we not see the spirit of the nation rising with proportionate vigor and fortitude to meet the trial? The present aspect of our af. fairs in the north, south, and west, seems to indicate that such hopes are not altogether illusory.

From the ruins of our fallen capital, the redeeming genius of the nation has gone forth. The dormant fire of the revolution is kindling afresh, and will ere long burst forth with terrible execution upon our invaders. As the enemy approaches our shores in formidable array, and his designs are more fnlly developed, the clamorous voice of party seems to be hushed. We are no longer mocked by the discrepancy of factious tongues. The nation is left to the utterance of her own native unsophisticated language and feeling. What is that language but her own vernacular idiom of '76? What is that feeling, but a filial love of country, a fond attachment to the soil, the home that gave us birth-an indignation exasperated into fury against the foe that would

spoil and lay waste this blessed inheritance ? Such feelings are expressed in the

« ПредишнаНапред »